With funding from Awards For All, Kieran Walsh and Lewis Buttery from Soft Touch Arts go to Glen Parva prison to work with inmates every week with help from staff from The Therapeutic Drug and Alcohol Support Team (TDAS).
The participants are aged from 18-21 and are split into two groups, who all work closely with the Soft Touch team creating artwork to decorate the walls of the visitors centre in the prison.
The Glen Parva project began on September 7 2015 and was ran on a weekly session basis for a 40 week period.
Participants get to meet regularly in their groups to discuss, plan and design artwork. They develop their social skills as they are constantly working alongside other participants and work together as a group to create artwork for themselves and the prison. They look forward to meeting every two weeks to create the artwork and it is a great experience as the positive work they do for the community can help them express the negative feelings they have.
The outstanding artwork which was created by the participants is now on display in the visitors centre, and everyone involved was so pleased in the amazing work and positive impacts the sessions had made that a launch event was held for family of the participants to come and see the artwork.
The Glen Parva project is continuing to engage the young men in phase two. The men are working on their own artwork pieces and an exhibition was held earlier this year, showcasing the fantastic work.
The Inside Outside Prison Art Exhibition is a culmination of months of hard work by a dedicated group of young men at HMP Glen Parva, who meet once a week within the prison to plan and create artwork for themselves, for loved ones and to brighten up the prison surroundings. Kieran and Lewis from Soft Touch Arts work closely with NHS staff from the Therapeutic Drug and Alcohol Support (TDAS) team to deliver the project. It has now been running for over a year and a half and has engaged almost 100 prisoners, some for short periods and others for the majority of their sentences.
“After I get released I would like to come to Soft Touch as I really believe it has helped me improve on my social skills.”
“This is the happiest I’ve felt in a long time. I’m not thinking about who I have to rob for my next fix, or getting my fix, or feeling ill without it. I feel normal”
A member of staff also said that:
“It gives the prisoners something to focus on and be proud to be a part of. They produced a lot of really good work already.”